Balladeer’s Blog’s previous looks at Seven Ancient Greek Comedies with Themes That Are Still Relevant , Four More Ancient Greek Comedies and Five More Ancient Greek Comedies … went over pretty well, so here are two more.
BAPTAE – Written by Eupolis, one of the Big Three of ancient Greek comedians. Aristophanes and Cratinus were the other two. This comedy satirized the latest “hot new cult” to hit Athens – worship of the Dorian and Thracian goddess Cotyto.
Practitioners would immerse, or “baptize” their garments in water containing exotic dyes, hence the term Baptae to describe them. Continue reading
Anteia was written by the comic poet Philyllius. This comic poet’s career seems to have spanned approximately from the 410s BCE to 390 BCE. One of his comedies won 1st prize at a Lenaea festival in the 390s and he won 1st prize at an unknown Dionysia. His fellow comedian Strattis credited him with being the first Attic Old Comic to use real torches on stage.
My favorite random line from Philyllius’ fragments: “The most important element of health is to breathe clean and unsullied air.”
ANTEIA – This comedy was an example of the sub-genre of Attic Old Comedy called Hetaera Plays. The term hetaera is often lazily translated as “prostitute” but the reality was a bit more complex. I’ve always felt that “kept woman” would be a better way to capture the concept. Hetaerae (plural) did NOT walk the streets and were not just for quickies like the lower-level prostitutes. They had their own luxurious digs with the expenses being footed by whichever wealthy man was enjoying bedroom privileges at the moment.
A hetaera could move from man to man or keep one man for extended periods. What they were was openly known but the hetaerae occupied the top rung in the open “sex for pay” business in ancient Greece. Political figures could be publicly known as a hetaera’s steady man and it was not a career ender, but the man would be in for a lot of ribbing in the comedies of the time, usually as the butt of jokes pointing out how such an “ugly” man could ONLY get such a beautiful sex partner by paying her. Continue reading
Welcome to Balladeer’s Blog’s latest look at ancient Greek comedy. In previous posts I examined 8 individual comedies from classical Athens. Since so many of the Attic Old Comedies survive in very fragmentary form I will periodically be dealing with the plays too fragmentary for full-length reviews in the manner laid out in this blog post.
Instead of examining individual comedies in these posts, I will focus on those ancient Greek comedians whose entire corpus is very, very fragmentary, touching briefly on all of their known works. For background info on ancient Greek comedy plus my previous reviews click here: https://glitternight.com/ancient-greek-comedies/
PHILYLLIUS – This comic poet’s career seems to have spanned approximately from the 410’s BCE to 390 BCE. One of his comedies won 1st prize at a Lenaea festival in the 390’s and he won 1st prize at an unknown Dionysia. His fellow comedian Strattis credited him with being the first Attic Old Comic to use real torches on stage.
My favorite random line from his fragments: “The most important element of health is to breathe clean and unsullied air.”
I. HERAKLES – This comedy combined mythological burlesque with a comical look at the institution of phratries in ancient Greece. Phratries were the forerunner of and partial inspiration for college fraternities and sororities as well as Continue reading